Friday, October 12, 2012

The Diary of Samuel Pepys: 23% Complete

Well, I'll be honest, I flagged a little in my reading during this week.  Two of my three classes this quarter, medical anthropology and philosophy, require quite a bit of reading, so Tuesday and Wednesday I didn't get much reading done.  But I'm moving forward and I'm still ahead of schedule, so I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

I've finished 23% of The Diary of Samuel Pepys which means I've read over 623 pages.  I'm still enjoying it a lot.

For vocabulary words, I've tried to only focus on learning new words, not archaic definitions of words I already know, simply because they're not so useful to me.  But the archaic definitions of words I know are quite fascinating, so today, you're going to get two vocabulary words.  The first is the word "unready" as in, "I went into the room to get unready."  The meaning is the same as "undressing."  At first this seems strange, but it actually makes a lot of sense.  We use "ready" and "dressed" synonymously all the time, so to use their antonyms synonymously makes perfect sense as well.

The second and "more serious" vocabulary word is "preferment", meaning a promotion or appointment to a position or office.  I was really excited about this word because I came across it in the book, looked it up and wrote it down, and then later, I ran across it again.  I love it when this happens because then I can say, "Ah ha! I know what that word means now!" It's very exciting for little nerdy people like me.  And yes, I do say, "Ah ha!" with dramatic hand gestures and everything.

I also had two quotes I wanted to share, one short and one long, so consider this a double entry today.  First of all, Samuel Pepys often recalls stories that he has been told by other people, often friends of friends that are visiting from other places, etc.  Very often these stories seem quite fantastical to me, and I have a feeling there were even more urban legends floating around then than there are now.  And they couldn't look them up on, so what could you do?  In this story, which is more believable, one of Pepys's friends has a friend visiting from Poland and Pepys writes:

"This day among other stories he told me how despicable a thing it is to be a hangman in Poland, although it be a place of credit.  And that, in his time, there was some repairs to be made of the gallows there, which was very fine of stone; but nobody could be got to mend it till the Burgomaster, or Mayor of the town, with all the companies of those trades which were necessary to be used about those repairs, did go in their habits with flags, in solemn procession to the place, and there the Burgomaster did give the first blow with the hammer upon the wooden work; and the rest of the Masters of the Companys upon the works belonging to their trades; that so workmen might not be ashamed to be employed upon doing of the gallows' work."

Talk about red tape!

The second, shorter quote, is simply this:

"[Mr. Brian] tells me, that it is believed the Queen is with child, for that the coaches are ordered to ride very easily through the streets."

It just reminded me of all the speculation and rumors that right now surround Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge regarding her possible, supposed, or theoretical pregnancies or lack thereof.  Apparently royal baby watch has been going on for a long time!

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